If I have ever seen magic, it has been in Africa – John Hemingway
That’s right, in my eyes the little Cape Town is without doubt the most beautiful city in the world. Yes, you heard me! The reasons why are countless. Firstly the daylight, a magical ever lasting golden hour. The sunsets… aww the African sunsets! The people, the mountains surrounding the city, the food, the cafes, the city itself, everything is just perfect.
We created a 5 days Cape Town route guide to help you plan your trip, but also give you some additional places to add to your route through South Africa.
Cape Town route guide, 5 days travel plan
This 5 days Cape Town route guide includes beaches, hikes, wine tastings, wildlife encounters and daily road trips. The route is improved by our own experience, by the things we discovered while visiting Cape Town and its surroundings. As I said, this might be our favorite city in the whole world and we have a lot to write about.
Relatively small, but with so many things to do, Cape Town is easy to explore. The best – and easiest – way is by renting a car. We booked our car with Budget, they have an office at the airport and one in the city. You can read everything about driving in South Africa here!
If you don’t like the idea of having to drive on the left side of the road and you don’t want to join a tour you can call an Uber and book the car with the private driver for the day.
So here’s how to squeeze every drop of awesomeness out of Cape Town in less than a week.
Day 1. CAPE POINT & THE CAPE OF GOOD HOPE
Drive along the coast past St James Beach, Kalk Bay and Simon’s Town – where you can see the African penguins. Destination Cape Point Nature Reserve, the most south-western point of Africa. Plan to visit the park early in the morning or get ready for a long cue to pass the entrance gate. On the way back to Cape Town follow the Chapman’s Peak drive, on the west coast, you won’t regret it!
⇸ Read about: 1-day itinerary in the Cape Peninsula
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Day 2. THE WEST COAST NATIONAL PARK
The West Coast National Park is a 1 hour drive from Cape Town. Enjoy a swim in the calm and warm waters of the beautiful Langebaan Lagoon. On the way back stop for a sundowner – the South African happy hour – at the Blue Peter to enjoy an African sunset, a beer and live music sitting on the grass!
⇸ Read about: Road trip to the West Coast National Park
Day 3. THE CAPE WINELANDS
Cape Winelands, one of the most renowned wine regions in the world, is only a 45-minute drive outside of Cape Town. How could you miss a visit? This area is so beautiful that you could even spend 2-3 days exploring the wineries and tasting their delicious wine.
⇸ Read about: Wine tasting in South Africa
Day 4. BETTY’S BAY
Take the road less travelled and explore the lesser known side of False Bay. Sand dunes, penguins and wild beaches. Driving along the coast, just beside the water, you very well may see whales splashing nearby the road (between July and September) and the Cape Whale Route alone is worth the day trip!
⇸ Read about: Day trip in Betty’s Bay
Day 5. CAPE TOWN & LION’S HEAD
5.30 am. Start your last day in the Mother City breaking a nice little sweat on the 45 min hike to the top of Lion’s Head, the iconic peak facing the Table Mountain. The view of the city from above is breathtaking!! Tip: drive up to Signal Hill and park at the beginning of the track.
After the hike visit the colourful suburb of Bo-Kaap. The Malay Quarter is the spiritual home of the Cape’s Muslim community. Many of its residents are descendants of slaves from Malaysia, Indonesia and various African countries. Walking down the alleys you will be overwhelmed by the smell of spices and by the hipnotic call of the adhan coming from the minarets of its seven mosques.
In the afternoon visit the Old Biscuit Mill Market, a vibrant little market in the heart of Woodstock. The Mill occupies an old red-brick factory that has been transformed into a hip emporium of jewelry, craft shops, art and restaurants. Every Saturday, visitors flock to the Neighbourgoods Market where more than 100 vendors sell fashion, art and local food, organic vegetables, wine, craft beer and more in a cool vibrant atmosphere.
Lastly visit the famous V&A Waterfront and its Watershed (V & A Waterfront, 17 Dock Rd) where you will find South African art and crafts with many of its high-quality products made locally in the Cape Town area. This is not your average African market—the prices are high and haggling is not expected. We loved the African fabrics and the clothes!
The V&A Food Market (34a Dock Rd, V & A Waterfront) offers the most eclectic dining experience. Housed in a historical pump house, the market features more than 40 vendors selling delicious street food from all over the world together with the finest Western Cape craft beers and wines by the glass.
Cape Town is one of the most scenic cities in the world and the best view is from a helicopter window! Unfortunately we missed this opportunity (and I still regret it). You can book your tour with one of the charter companies based at the V&A Waterfront. Both Cape Town Helicopters and NAC Helicopters offer scenic flights of the city and of the Cape Peninsula. Whichever option you choose, the sight of the city and Table Mountain is one you’ll never forget. Flights start at around R1450 per person.
Book your helicopter tour here!!
⇸ Read about: 5 THINGS TO KNOW BEFORE VISITING CAPE TOWN
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When is the best time to visit Cape Town?
The best time to visit Cape Town is summer (December – February). The weather is sunny and dry, perfect for morning hikes and afternoons at the beach. We visited at the end of December and we had six amazing sunny (but very windy) days. During this time of the year the city also becomes incredibly busy so you need to plan and book accommodation and car ahead. By February the wind calms and most visitors head home, making late January to April absolutely fantastic – expect better rates, uncrowded beaches and less wind. Another great time to visit Cape Town is during spring: between August and September the migratory southern right whales arrive along the coastline, the wildflowers bloom on the West Coast and the weather warms up.
Where to eat in Cape Town. Go Local!!
Best breakfast & brunch in Cape Town
Breakfasts in Cape Town is something that you have to try. Hip seaside cafes, fresh juices and healthy, filling breakeys were keeping us out of starvation until dinner time. Here a list of some of the our favourite cool-hip cafes in town:
Best lunch out of town
- Kalkys, Kalk Bay Harbour, Cape Town
- Triggerfish Brewing, Unit 9, W.R. Quinan Blvd, Paardevlei, Cape Town
- Tokara Restaurant, Tokara Wine Estate, off R310 Helshoogte Road, Banhoek Valley, Stellenbosch
Best dinner in Cape Town
Cape Town is a melting pot of culture and its Cape Malay cuisine is possibly the most authentic and deep-rooted culinary traditions you will find in the city. Cape Malay dishes blend the flavours brought by the slaves from South-East Asia with the recipes of the Dutch settlers. Common spices found in these recepies are turmeric, cinnamon, ginger, jeera (cumin), koljander (coriander seed), cloves, dhania (coriander leaf) and star anise.
Try some delicious Cape Malay dishes in one of these restaurants:
- Bo-Kaap Kombuis Kitchen, 7 August St, Schotsche Kloof
- The Charles Cafe&Rooms, 137 Waterkant St, De Waterkant
- Upper Bloem Restaurant, Shop 1 Winston Place, 65 Main Rd, Green Point (fine dining!!)
Summer in Cape Town means one thing: the aroma of meat being cooked to perfection over hot coals on a braai, the South African version of a barbecue! If you don’t have the chance to take part in a real local braai, but you are a meat lover don’t miss:
- The Hussar Grill Mouille Point, 163 Beach Road, New Cumberland Building, Mouille Point
- Carne SA, 70 Keerom St, Cape Town City Centre
- Mama Africa, 178 Long Street, Cape Town City Centre (ostrich, springbok, kudu, warthog and crocodile are on the menu!!)
- Cafe Manhattan, 74 Waterkant St, De Waterkant, Cape Town
- Hudsons. The Burger Joint, 69A Kloof St, Gardens, Cape Town
If you prefer fish:
- Panama Jack’s Seafood Restaurant, Cruise Ship Terminal, Foreshore, Cape Town
- Pesce Azzurro Osteria di Mare, 113 Roodebloem Rd, Woodstock, Cape Town
For some African cuisine try:
- Meeting Point-Tanzanian East African Cuisine, 67 Strand St, Cape Town City Centre
- Addis in Cape, Ethiopian Restaurant, 41 Church St, CBD
Up for some Indian cuisine? Try:
- Vintage India, 10 Hiddingh Village, C/o Hiddingh Ave and Mill St, Gardens
- Thali Restaurant, 3 Park Rd, Gardens
Best drink in Cape Town
- The Gin Bar, 64A Wale St, Cape Town City
- The Power & The Glory, 13D Kloof Nek Road, Tamboerskloof, Cape Town
- The House of Machines, 84 Shortmarket St, Cape Town City (live music!)
- Blue Peter, 8 Popham St, Bloubergstrand, Cape Town (amazing sunset view!)
Best areas to stay in Cape Town
Choosing where to stay in Cape Town is hard, especially without local insight. The city is small and it is easy to move around, however not every area is safe. We stayed in a beautiful Airbnb in the Gardens and we loved it! The location was perfect, just a few steps away from the restaurants and the bars of Kloof St. Another safe place to stay is De Waterkant, a trendy little village shouldering the city. It has a modern feel, with artisan shops and fantastic little eateries and bars. If you want to stay by the beach you can choose Sea Point or Green Point, but don’t go to the beach after sunset. For more tips on how to stay safe in Cape Town read 5 THINGS TO KNOW BEFORE VISITING CAPE TOWN
⇸ Find all: Hotels in Cape Town